What do Turku's Student Village, Luolavuori and Varissuo have in common?

Vieraskynä / Visiting author | 31.8.2020

Turku is a popular city to study. Students are living across the city, yet especially exchange students are living in three neighborhoods: Student Village, Luolavuori and Varissuo. Our intern Noemi talked with 4 international students (Louise, Anaëlle, Evan and Camille), from Belgium and France, and asked their opinions and tips about living in Turku, Finland.

The first impression our interviewees had of Turku was that the city is very small and “quite empty” compared to their own home cities. Yet the environment felt relaxed and pleasant. Interestingly, they were surprised with the weather, as it wasn’t as bad as they thought (notice! they arrived in January to Turku).

My first impression of Turku was that this is a small city, with a lot of nature and forest everywhere, and also there is the Aura river, so, it is a really beautiful city”, tells Camille from France.

River Aura and red flowers along the river.
The small city vibes, closeness to nature and the River Aura make our exchange students smile. © Jenni Polttila / CYF

What about the negatives? They all agree that the price level in Finland is quite high. According to Louise, one thing could be better (editors note: in the summertime there are more street vendors around):

One thing I really miss here is the little/local shops; like where I can buy street food… and in general everything is more expensive.”, observes Louise from Belgium.

About the student accommodation

A major positive side about the neighborhoods where they live (Student Village, Luolavuori, Varissuo and) is that they are multicultural and filled with other students from different countries. This makes it easy to have new friends.

I like the Student Village accommodation because it’s a very calm and safe neighborhood. You can meet a lot of different people from other countries.”, says Evan from France.

Red apartment building in students village Turku
Student village is a combination of old and new architecture. Students enjoy the closeness of nature and friends around. © CYF

Another plus side is, that all of the neighborhoods are surrounded by nature. In fact, the Student Village (Yo-Kylä) is located right next to the Aura river.

In Varissuo, the accommodation is next to two other buildings which are dorms for exchange students too. The area is quiet and pleasant to take a walk or run around. There is also a sauna in front of the lake called “Villa Järvela at Littoinen” which I really recommend to visit.”, tells Camille from France.

In Retrodorm there is not much to do, but the residence is surrounded by forests so it is a really nice and peaceful area”, says Louise from Belgium.

Retrodorm is located close to Luolavuori recreation area, which is perfect for jogging, biking and other outdoor activities. We'll recommend you to try out the Frisbee Golf. © CYF

Again, there is also something to complain. They all felt that the dorms are a little too far from the city center, although there are good connections with bus (Föli), that goes directly to the city center. Many student also have a bike, which is a convenient way to move around in the city.

The best of Turku - Tips from the students:

With friends or alone

Kupittaa Park is a perfect place to hang out and do sports. During the winter, there is an ice-skating track which is open to everyone.

In the city center you find the main library, which is highly recommended by the students. They think it is an interesting mix of traditional and modern architecture and a perfect place to go to study due to the relaxed and peaceful environment.

Grab a bite in the city center

For those who want to taste new things or local food, there is a market square in the city center next to the mall (Hansa Kortteli). In addition, there are lovely small food stands in Kauppahalli (Turku Market Hall). If you prefer to just have a drink in a chill environment, there is the Walo rooftop bar which also gives you great views over the city.

View to Turku city centre and Turku Cathedral
Valo Rooftop bar offer nice scenary over the City of Turku. © Noemi


Sauna is also quite prominent in the students’ list of favorite places.

“There are several public saunas in Turku but I recommend you to go to “Villa Y-Hovi”, it is a really nice place in front of a lake”, suggests Evan from France.

Beach at the seaside. People are going to swim.
Sauna and swimming is a perfect combition for relazinf. Even in winter time! © Noemi

Another place to relax that near the Student Village is the Caribia water park (Caribia Hotel), which is a nice place for those who like to swim or just want to go to the spa.

Go partying

There are different clubs to have fun during the night. Our students suggest to ask your friends, which are the nicest places to have fun.

Tips for the future exchange students

If you are a future exchange student who is going to Turku bear in mind that you will need to find good accommodation in which you can meet different people (other exchange students), so you won’t feel alone and you could do a lot of things together. I personally recommend Student Village because you will be in a multicultural environment among students. You won’t be bored since there are a lot of things to do in there.”, tells Anaëlle from France.

I recommend buying a bike because you can ride around the city from one point to another very quickly”, advises Camille from France.

-Noemi (exchange student at TUAS) & Susanna (Know Your Hoods)

P.S. Want to know more about neighborhoods popular among students? Read our blog TOP 5 student housing options from TYS and Students' favorites – TOP 5+1 Neighborhoods in Turku.

Buildings in Turku Student village and a text: "31.8.-13.9.2020 Neihborhood Hunt Naapurustosuunnistus"

P.P.S We are organizing, together with University of Turku, Neighborhood Hunt on 31st of August until 13th of September. The Hunt is a fun and interactive way to get to know your new home city and especially the three neighborhoods mentioned in the blog post: Student Village, Luolavuori and Varissuo. Read more about Neighborhood Hunt.


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